Blitzkrieg 3 is a new massively multiplayer online real-time strategy game (MMO-RTS) from Russian developer, Nival. Set in Europe during different parts of World War II, Blitzkrieg 3 will have 3 single player campaigns along with a MMO-style multiplayer system – including a “pay once, play forever” subscription system similar to Funcom’s The Secret World. Currently, the single player campaign and the asynchronous multiplayer system were in place, and I got to play through both of these modes.
The single player campaigns will focus on three time periods of conflict during World War II. The German campaign will focus on Paris in 1940, the American campaign on the invasion of Rome between 1943 and 1945, while the Soviet campaign will focus on the invasion of Berlin in 1945. The first battle of the Russian Campaign is the Nattle of the Oder-Neisse, where Soviet Union battalions of Belorussian and Ukrainian soldiers pushed the German armies back and opened up the way to Frankfurt. The only way that I know that this was the battle that is fought in the first stage, is by a small notice that I was exiting the Crossing of the Neisse when I had to log out one night in the middle of the fight. There is a very small set up via text box that is given through a radio, but other than that is is entirely unclear as to what side of the battle you are fighting and even what battle you are fighting in. The developer assumes you know your history which, being a history teacher myself, is a bad assumption.
Other than a sever lack of pre-battle information or set up for the stage, the battles are set fairly true to history. The developers did their homework in how each battle looks and feels. Since this is still in the alpha stage, I will assume that the story line will get much more narrative before release. I do enjoy how we get to play certain campaigns that have been overlooked during World War II, even through the hundreds of different games that have been released. The Soviet invasion of Germany, for instance, is a great campaign to play since we have seen the Battle of Stalingrad a hundred times over.
Game play for Blitzkrieg 3 is, for the most part, standard RTS fare. You build your base with the basic structures that will build and outfit your units. You can upgrade these structures to give you a much better chance for survival, and you can set up your defenses by buying different gun turrets and tank traps. You move your units by the tried and true method of the drag and select to gather your troops, then point and click to issue orders.
That’s where the basic game play ends, and the interesting game play of Blitzkrieg 3 picks up. Cover matters in Blitzkrieg 3, so having your anti-tank troops waiting in ambush in the tree line for the German tank column is not only a great strategy, but will be essential to win games. You will also have to scout out the enemy units, so you can send in the correct unit types to defeat them. You cannot just send in your tank division to crush everything in the way, since the anti-tank squads hiding in the houses will tear you apart. Strategy is the key to winning this game, which is different then most rts games on the market already. My experience with rts games has been simply, the bigger the army, the tougher it is. In Blitzkrieg 3, that is not the case if your enemy is holed up in strategic fortifications. You also have access to a radio to call in airstrikes or barrages from the long range guns, which will help soften up these fortifications. A few volleys from these sources, and the enemy will be a little easier to conquer.
While the mmo part of Blitzkrieg 3 is not in the game yet, what we do have is the asynchronous multiplayer system. Multiplayer is set up in two parts, offense and defense. You will build your own base using materials that you have gathered from raiding other players’ bases in asynchronous combat. You can select battle, and that will pit you against a base that is in your level range, that is owned by a real player, who is offline. You will combat the player’s base and, if you defeat the computer controlled troops, you will gain materials that will help build your base and make it tougher to defeat.
Blitzkrieg 3 is a very good looking game. Camera view is a 3/4 angle view of the battle field, that you can zoom in and out of. The battle fields are very detailed, down to the small wood piles behind a cottage in the middle of Germany. Environments can be destroyed by both military fire and by the tanks themselves. Trees will fall down as you drive your tanks through the forest, and your infantry can take cover in buildings as you capture sections of the map. Art design is in a realistic style, so tanks, infantry and buildings all look like they are supposed to during World War II. I experiences no graphic issues, or crashes during my time with Blitzkrieg 3.
Voice overs are contained to just background orders given over a radio, or shouts from the infantry. While the voice overs are done in the nation’s native language, there is a lot of repetition that goes on. So, it was good that I did not understand German, but I could tell that my infantry was saying the same thing over and over again.
Not Quite Final Thoughts
Since the game is still in Steam’s Early Access, I cannot really say what the final product is or whether or not Blitzkrieg 3 is a must buy yet. However, I can firmly say, that what I have seen and played is amazing and cannot wait to see what the final product will have in store later this year. For fans of military rts games, this game will really be a great addition to your library. Blitzkrieg is in Early Access on Steam and should be out later third quarter this year.